ExxonMobil’s Fawley refinery makes one-fifth of the fuel used on UK roads.
The threat of shutting down Britain’s largest oil refinery is due to strikes and a dispute over workers’ wages.
Unite, the union is voting contractors at ExxonMobil’s Fawley refinery, Southampton, following an “insulting” pay offer.
This plant is one of six UK major crude refineries that together supply most of the country’s petrol stations and airports.
Unite warned that strike action could lead to plant shutdowns, as some workers hold key safety positions.
Simon Williams, RAC, warned that major disruptions could have “negative consequences” for drivers.
ExxonMobil says that Fawley is responsible for approximately one-fifth of the fuel used in UK roads and processes around 270,000 barrels daily of crude oil.
The pump prices for petrol and diesel have reached record levels because of factors such as higher crude oil prices.
According to RAC figures, Monday’s average unleaded gasoline cost was 149.12 pence per litre and diesel at 160.91 pence each litre.
A shortage in delivery drivers during the summer caused a run on petrol stations across the country, leading to huge queues and rationing for drivers.
Unite is currently balloting 100 workers. This represents one-third of the contractors on the site. Strike action could begin in April.
It stated that members of contractors Trant Engineering, Veolia Services, and Altrad Services objected to the 2.5pc salary offer for the next two-years.
The Consumer Price Inflation reached 5.5 % last month . This is the highest increase since 1992. It was driven by energy bills, clothing, and footwear.
Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, stated that employers should rethink their insulting pay offers, which are actually a cut.
“Our members have mounting debts to pay, and with runaway inflation, there is no way that we will accept a deplorable 2.5pc for our workforce.
“Unite is committed to improving the conditions, jobs and pay of its members so that our Fawley members have our full support in their fight for fair wages.”
Unite members are responsible for removing sewage and emergency works as well as providing fuel to airports or petrol stations.
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